The young Bela Bartok.

Bartok’s letters to legendary violinist deposited with Bartok Archive

Bela Bartok's handwritten letters to the legendary violinist Zoltan Szekely, who led the Hungarian Quartet, have been deposited with the Bartok Archive at the Institute of Musicology (BTK) in Budapest.
10. September 2021 6:50

The documents were handed over to the Hungarian National Asset Management company on Sept. 8.

Among the letters are Bartok’s thoughts about one of his masterpieces, his second violin concerto which Szekely commissioned in 1937-38.

The letters have been described in a catalog for a Sotheby’s auction held in 2017 as “highly important”.

Laszlo Vikarius, the Bartok Archive’s director, noted the significance of the long and fruitful relationship between the composer and violinist who studied composition with Zoltan Kodaly. A number of masterpieces came about thanks to their increasingly warm friendship.

Apart from his family correspondence, relatively few of his letters have survived in complete form.

There are just over 40 letters to Szekely, generally handwritten letters and postcards among other documents.

The letters will be used by the archive for research and publication, and on occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Bartok Archive which was inaugurated on September 26, 1961, highlighted items of the collection will be presented in a small exhibition.

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